Buckle up – we don’t want new members.
That’s the message from the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA), which will ask motorists to wear their seatbelts during the upcoming Easter holidays in order to prevent a spinal cord injury in the event of a road crash.
From March 29 quadriplegics and paraplegics will be deployed at garages on national roads encouraging motorists to buckle up. In return for signing a pledge to buckle up, motorists will receive a free licence disk sticker.
The Association is driving the message that wearing a seatbelt in a crash drastically reduces one’s chances of sustaining a spinal cord injury.
Despite incontrovertible evidence about the life- and injury-saving benefits of seatbelts, the seatbelt-wearing rate of South African drivers and passengers is still very low.
Only 60 percent of front-seat occupants use their safety belts, but the more shocking figure is that less than three percent of rear-seat passengers wear them.
THE REAL IMPACT
Research has proved that if 80 percent of vehicle occupants wear seatbelts, there’s a drop in fatalities by 30 percent.
More than 900 people become spinal cord injured in South Africa per annum and half of these from road crashes. The impact on their lives and the lives of their families is devastating and the cost immeasurable.
“We are proud to deliver a road safety programme to the public and not only will we reduce the number of persons sustaining spinal injuries in crashes, but we employ our own members in implementing the project,” says Ari Seirlis, the CEO of QASA.
“So often, charities are seen with their hands out for handouts. In this project, we extend a hand out to the South African public giving something back in the form of an awareness campaign that will save millions in rehabilitation costs and reducing the number of persons becoming disabled. We owe our road users this campaign.”